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Legendary Ohio State football coach Earle Bruce has passed away at age 87

Buckeye Nation lost one of the good guys today.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

It is a sad day in Buckeye Nation, as we say goodbye to one of our own. Former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce passed away Friday morning at the age of 87 years old.

Bruce first worked on the sidelines for Ohio State as an assistant under Woody Hayes from 1966-1971, and then returned to take over as the head coach from 1979 through 1987. He coached 108 games for the Buckeyes, claiming an 81-26-1 record during that span, and winning 5-of-8 bowl games.

His daughters, Lynn, Michele, Aimee and Noel announced the news, along with the university, and released the following statement:

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, Coach Earle Bruce, early this morning, Friday, April 20. He was a great man, a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, and a respected coach to many. Our family will miss him dearly, but we take solace in the belief that he is in a better place and reunited with his beloved wife, Jean. We thank you for your prayers and good wishes.

Bruce regularly came back to Ohio State to be around the football program, and the next generation of Buckeye talent. In 2016, the former head coach even earned the honor of dotting the “i” during the Rutgers game.

Current head coach Urban Meyer got the first job of his college coaching career as a graduate assistant on Bruce’s Ohio State staff in 1986, and has routinely referred to his former boss as a father figure. The Buckeyes’ current wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Zach Smith is Bruce’s grandson.

In addition to Ohio State, Bruce was also the head coach at Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Colorado State, and a number of stops in the Arena Football League, including the Cleveland Thunderbolts and Columbus Destroyers.

Our thoughts go out to Coach Bruce’s family and friends during this difficult time, but the legendary head coach will always be apart of Buckeye Nation.